Policies and Procedures
Policies and procedures for graduate students are devised to safeguard the integrity of the degree or certificate granted, to facilitate the student’s progress toward the degree, and to prevent delays and misunderstandings.
Each student is responsible for being thoroughly familiar with all policies and procedures and with the requirements of the specific program: degree, certificate, or certification. Updates to the printed catalog are available in our online Catalog. If the student has any doubt or question about requirements or procedures, he or she should consult the Graduate Support Team at GraduateSupport@arcadia.edu.
Conferring of Degrees
Degrees are conferred at the completion of a program in May, August, and December. A formal Commencement exercise takes place in May. A Commencement exercise is held in October for students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. All students completing their degrees at any time during the academic year are invited to participate in the following May ceremony and will receive information regarding the Commencement ceremony from the Division of Student Success. Information also is available online on our Commencement page in early March and posted in the Canvas communities. Attendance at Commencement is not mandatory.
Students are recognized at Commencement and honored by the University for having achieved academic excellence in their degree programs. Latin honors are not used in graduate study; instead students receive “With Distinction” on their records and diploma. Requirements for distinction are as follows:
A cumulative grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0 is required for programs in Counseling, Education, English, Creative Writing, Forensic Science, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Public Health, the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the Doctor of Education.
A cumulative grade point average of 3.7 to 4.0 is required in the Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant) degree programs.
Notification of Expected Completion of Degree Requirements
Students are responsible for notifying the Division of Student Success of their expected date for completion of degree requirements. Forms are available online at www.arcadia.edu/gsforms. For additional assistance contact the Registrar’s Office.
Petitions for Exceptions to Policies, Regulations or Requirements
Petitions for change of grades or any other course-related grievance will not be accepted after one calendar year from the time of the start of the course(s) in question, or after the completion of the program in which the student is matriculated, whichever date comes first.
The Grade Appeal process applies only to the final grade of a course. If a student believes that a final grade has been incorrectly determined, the student may appeal the grade, according to the following process:
- The student should first try to resolve the matter with the course instructor within ten working days of when the final grade is posted and officially available to the student.
- If the dispute cannot be resolved, the student may file an appeal with the Department Chair or Program Director as applicable (typically Program Director for graduate students; Chair for undergraduates), indicating in writing the grounds for the appeal; this appeal must be filed within twenty working days of when the final grade is posted and officially available to the student. The criteria for consideration of altering an instructor’s final grade are one of the following: grading calculation error; grading unfairness. The Program Director or Department Chair (as applicable) will review relevant materials from the student and instructor, make a decision, and notify the student and instructor of the decision.
- A student unsatisfied with this resolution may file an appeal with the Dean of the College or School, indicating in writing the grounds for the appeal of the Program Director/Department Chair determination; this appeal must be filed within ten working days of the Program Director/Department Chair’s decision. The criteria for consideration of altering an instructor’s final grade are one of the following: grading calculation error; grading unfairness. The Dean will review relevant materials from the student, instructor, and Program Director/Department Chair. The Dean will then make a decision and notify the student, instructor, and Program Director/Department Chair of the decision. The decision of the Dean is final.
Exemptions to Policies, Regulations, or Requirements
Students requesting exceptions to policies, regulations, or requirements must write a clear and concise statement describing the requested exception, including evidence supported by a rationale. This request must be submitted by the student online with an “Exception to Policy” form with the student’s faculty adviser. The Division of Student Success will respond to the petition.
Code of Academic Responsibility
A code of academic responsibility guides the academic life of Arcadia University students. It is expected that each student will uphold the concept of academic integrity and will accept the responsibility for acting in accord with this concept. Refer to these publications for guidelines: Graduate Student Handbook and Departmental Handbooks.
Code of Ethical/Professional Standards and Conduct
Graduate programs at Arcadia University prepare students to take positions of responsibility and leadership within their communities and professions. Many of the departments and programs require supervised off-campus clinical experience in which students are expected to conduct themselves as professionals-in-training. These programs represent professions that adhere to established standards of behavior and ethics. Arcadia University students are expected to adhere to those standards. Behavior in violation of ethical or professional standards of the field and/or Arcadia University constitutes grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. (Refer to the Graduate Student Handbook and departmental guidelines.)
Students are expected to abide by the regulations set forth by Arcadia University and the written policies and procedures of their respective departments. The University reserves the right to dismiss a student at any time for unsatisfactory academic performance or for conduct detrimental to the University or to the welfare of other students. Departments also reserve the right to dismiss a student if it is determined that a student’s conduct is unprofessional or is not consistent with the code of ethics of their intended profession.
A student may be dismissed from a program for the following reasons:
- A grade below “C” in a didactic course.
- A grade of “U” or below “C” in a clinical education experience.
- A grade below “B” in an Education Practicum, Fieldwork or culminating activity.
- Conduct detrimental to the University or to the welfare of other students.
- Conduct that violates the code of academic and/or professional ethics.
- Unsatisfactory GPA (Academic Standing)
- In addition to GPA, students also must be making adequate progress toward the degree to have satisfactory academic standing. Therefore, students who have an excessive number of course withdrawals for two consecutive semesters will have their records reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing. Excessive number of course withdrawals is defined as 50 percent or greater of the student’s course load. After review, a student may be dismissed from the University if it is determined that he or she is not making adequate progress.
Dismissal Appeal Process
Graduate programs will make dismissal decisions, which they will report to the GASAC* through the Assistant Dean of Student Success.
- In instances where there is a program-specific dismissal committee, that committee must first review the dismissal before the dismissal decision is reported to GASAC.
Students will have 10 days following the final program decision to appeal in writing to the GASCA through the Assistant Dean of Student Success. The GASAC will meet periodically during the academic year to hear timely appeals for students in programs, including those with alternative academic calendars.
The GASAC will hear all final appeals of dismissals by graduate students in both full-time and part-time programs. To submit an appeal to the GASCA. A student must submit a written appeal to the Assistant Dean of Student Success
Appeals must clearly state either:
- Compelling additional information that was not originally considered by the program (including instances where the student was not comfortable disclosing the information to the program specifically) or Evidence which outlines where a violation of protocols or procedures that directly affected the outcome are alleged to have occurred. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination or prejudice on behalf of the program.
The GASAC’s decision is final and there is no continued appeal from it.
The GASAC will not and can not contradict requirements held by a Graduate Program’s accrediting body.
*The Graduate Academic Standing and Appeal Committee (GASAC) is composed of the Associate Provost for the Division of Student Success, who will serve as chair of the committee and have one vote. The Assistant Dean for Student Success who serves as facilitator for the committee and does not have a vote. Representatives from three graduate programs, as appointed by the Faculty Senate Work and Welfare Committee, who each have one vote and rotate yearly. An affirmative decision requires a majority vote to proceed.
Fulfillment of Degree Requirements
Faculty advisers, and the Division of Student Success are available to assist students. Procedures have been developed to check progress toward the degree. It is the student’s responsibility, however, to know the requirements for his or her degree and to fulfill them.
In addition to or independent of a master’s degree, students also may prepare for certification granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Graduate programs at Arcadia University are under the direction of the Faculty Senate. Its Academics Committee is composed of at least four elected faculty-senators and two appointed faculty members. Ex officio members of the Academics Committee include one graduate student, as well as representatives from Undergraduate Success, Enrollment Management, the Registrar, the Library, and Information Technology. Corresponding members include the Provost and heads of the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Global Business, and the College of Global Studies. Two representatives from the Division of Student Success, including the Projects Manager serve as non-voting guests. Meetings of the Committee are open to others by invitation.
Degree Completion for Cohort Graduate Programs
- Doctor of Education in Special Education—three years plus extension for dissertation
- Doctor of Physical Therapy—two and one half years
- Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution—two years; three years for part-time track
- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing—two years
- Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant)—two years; three years for dual degree and three-year track
- Master of Science in Forensic Science—two years
Degree Completion for Graduate Programs with Rolling Admission
Six years from the first enrollment in coursework relating to the degree:
- Certificate of Advanced Study
- Master of Arts in Counseling
- Master of Arts in Education
- Master of Arts in English
- Master of Education
- Master of Public Health
- Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
In all of the above programs, students may enroll on either a full-time or part-time basis. If they do not want to pursue a degree or certification, they may request permission to enroll as Special Status students.
Credit Hour Policy
See our Credit Hour Policy.
Credit by Examination
Students are permitted to earn credit by examination for any undergraduate deficiencies they may have, but not for credit to be counted toward a graduate degree.
A letter grade system with pluses and minuses is used. The numerical values assigned are as follows:
- NR = Ongoing: a grade of NR in a practica or culminating activity must be converted to an earned grade one year from the date of registration. After one year, the NR becomes a W and the student must register again and pay full tuition.
- S = Satisfactory
- U = Unsatisfactory
- W = Withdrawal prior to seventh week of class
- WP = Withdraw passing—after the seventh week of class
- WF = Withdraw failing—after the seventh week of class
A cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00) is required for graduation in the following graduate programs: Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations and Public Health. A cumulative grade point average of “B–” (2.70) is required for graduation in the following programs: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Genetic Counseling and Medical Science (Physician Assistant).
A grade below “C” may not be applied toward a degree. Only 6 credits of “C” will count toward a degree in the following programs: Business Administration, Counseling, Education, English, English/Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Health Education, Humanities, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, International Public Relations, and Public Health. A student must petition to repeat a course; however, the original grade remains on the transcript. No more than two concentration courses may be repeated.
With the approval of the adviser, the department and, when relevant, the chair of the department in which the course is taught, students may repeat a course one time without earning additional credit if it is essential to their major or career goal. When students who have previously received a grade of “C” or below in a course repeat the course the higher grade is used for GPA computation and is considered the final grade for the course. A course can be repeated only once and both final grades will appear on the student’s transcript. Repeating examinations or completing additional work may not raise a permanent course grade. All final grades, including Fs, remain a permanent part of the student’s record. With approval of the respective Dean, and otherwise consistent with the guidelines above, a student may repeat any course once if the grade received in that course puts certification or licensure in jeopardy.
A grade of “B” or above is required to meet certification standards for the following courses:
- ED 470 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, PreK-4 Education
- ED 471 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Secondary
- ED 474 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum, Art Education
- ED 520B Intern Practicum
- ED 583 Fieldwork
- ED 590 Fieldwork in Inclusive Education (students in five-year Special Education program only)
- ED 592 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum: Dual PreK-4/Special Education PK-8
- ED 595 Reading Clinic Practicum
- ED 597 Graduate Student Teaching Practicum: Special Education
- ED 600 Practicum: Supervision
- ED 639 Practicum: Principalship
- ED 649 Practicum: The Superintendency
NOTE: All graduate policies also apply to non-degree-seeking graduate students enrolled in certification programs.
In circumstances such as illness or personal emergency, a grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be approved by the Associate Provost of the Division of Student Success if the student is unable to finish the course requirements by the end of the term but is passing the course. The outstanding work must be completed as soon as possible but no later than the end of the next semester. Students who have received an Incomplete grade must meet the conditions for its removal the semester following the original course enrollment or the date indicated on the official Incomplete card. If the Incomplete is not removed by the specified date, the default grade indicated on the Incomplete card will be recorded for the course. No more than two Incomplete grades may be received in a given semester, one of which must be removed before the student is allowed to enroll in more courses. Instructors must obtain an “Incomplete Grade Request” form from the Registrar’s Office and return it to the the Associate Provost of the Division of Student Success for approval.
To continue in good academic standing, students in Counseling, Education, English, Creative Writing, Forensic Science, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Public Health, and Doctor of Education are expected to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. If the cumulative average falls below 3.0, the student is placed on probation and notified by the Division of Student Success, in writing, of the conditions that must be met in order to be removed from probation. If the cumulative average falls below 2.7, or if a student in good standing receives a grade of “C–” to “F,” the student may be dismissed from the program.
A student must be in good academic standing with a 3.0 cumulative average in order to apply for admission to degree candidacy. If, after admission to degree candidacy, the average falls below 3.0, but no lower than 2.75, the student may be placed on probation. If the average falls below 2.75, the student may be dismissed from the program. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. The Graduate Academic Standing Committee makes final decisions about academic standing in these programs.
Students in Medical Science (Physician Assistant) and Physical Therapy are expected to maintain a 2.7 cumulative grade point average to continue in good academic standing. These programs maintain their own academic standing review and decision making. Please refer to the programs’ policies for degree-specific academic requirements.
In addition to GPA, students also must be making adequate progress toward the degree to have satisfactory academic standing. Therefore, students who have an excessive number of course withdrawals for two consecutive semesters will have their records reviewed by the Division of Student Success. Excessive number of course withdrawals is defined as 50 percent or greater of the student’s course load. After review, a student may be dismissed from the University if it is determined that he or she is not making adequate progress.
Students admitted to a degree program are expected to enroll continuously until the program is complete. For students in Counseling, Education, English, and Public Health programs, continuous enrollment is defined as enrollment in both semesters of the regular academic year, or one semester of the academic year and one summer session, or both regular summer sessions.
Leave of Absence
A student who is unable to register for courses because of a serious illness, personal/professional reasons, extraordinary job requirements or military service may be granted a leave of absence without penalty.
The leave of absence is normally limited to one year. The student must inform the chair in writing of his/her intention. A leave of absence must be confirmed by the Division of Student Success.
Students with an absence of one year without an approved leave of absence or who extend leave beyond one year will be governed by new departmental/program guidelines upon their return to the program.
Withdrawal from the University
A student who plans to withdraw from a program for personal reasons should consult with his or her adviser. If the student intends to withdraw, he or she should notify the Program Director and the Division of Student Success, in writing, of intent to withdraw. The student may reapply within two years of that withdrawal by following the readmission procedure described below. Please refer to program listings for program-specific requirements.
Admission to Degree Candidacy
Changes in Degree Requirements
In an effort to keep Arcadia graduate programs current, changes in degree requirements may occur after students have begun their program of studies. In this case, students would be expected to fulfill the new requirements unless doing so causes undue hardship, that is, postpones graduation, requires credits beyond those required for a specified program, or prevents enrollment in a course especially needed by the student. Changes and updates are available at www.arcadia.edu/catalog.
Transfer to a New Degree Program or Concentration
A change of concentration within a Master of Education (M.Ed.) program or a Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) program does not require re-application. A Change of Status form must be submitted to the Division of Student Success for approval.
Any change of status must be approved by the the Division of Student Success.
To be considered for a change of status into the Master of Arts in Counseling, Master of Arts in English, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Master of Public Health, students must submit program-specific materials as indicated in the admissions section of the intended program to the appropriate department for review. An application fee is not required if the student is currently enrolled. Credits earned in the original program may apply to the new program if, in the opinion of the faculty adviser, they are appropriate to the new degree.
Change of Status does not apply to master’s programs in Forensic Science, Medical Science (Physician Assistant); or to doctoral programs in Physical Therapy and Special Education.
The culminating activity provides a means of synthesizing the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program. This requirement may take a variety of forms, depending on the degree or concentration within the degree. A comprehensive examination (oral or written); fieldwork or internship; practicum (student teaching), clinical experience, research and thesis; final seminar, master’s paper, professional portfolio, or capstone course.
The culminating activity is arranged in consultation with the adviser. Students earning a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) or Master of Arts in Education degree (M.A.Ed.) are required to take ED599 Master’s Thesis as the culminating activity for the degree.
A grade of “B” or above is required for the culminating activity for any graduate degree.
Only matriculated students may register for independent research or for thesis. Up to 9 credits of a combination of independent research and thesis may be applied toward a degree.
A student in a master’s programs may elect to write a thesis for 6 credits toward the degree. The student should consult with his or her adviser to determine whether a thesis is required for the program.
The manual of style to be followed is determined by the department.
A student who does not complete the thesis or master’s project at the end of the coursework, or at the end of the semester or session in which he or she is enrolled in a departmental thesis or culminating project course, may be required to enroll in an ongoing one-credit thesis writing course until all work is completed and approved. A fee equivalent to 1 graduate credit for a 3-credit culminating master’s project and 2 graduate credits for a 6-credit culminating thesis will be assessed for each semester or part thereof during which the thesis or capstone project is incomplete. (For these purposes, all the summer sessions together will count as one semester.) Please refer to program-specific requirements in the catalog to determine if this applies.
Most departments offer a 3-credit course titled “589/689 Independent Research” that offers matriculated students an opportunity to undertake an individual project supervised by a faculty member. Students must have had formal coursework and/or experience in the area of study, have completed at least two graduate courses in the department at Arcadia University, and have a definite topic or project in mind. Students may ask a faculty member in the department to supervise the study or ask the department chair to suggest an appropriate faculty member. The independent research form must be signed by the chair of the department and contain the name of the supervising faculty member.